Howard's Volvo Maintenance


Spring Seat

The front strut/spring assembly seats on this rubberized seat. They crack and you will hear it going over bumps. Part is $25-$30, Labor 1 hour. I have lots of speed bumps near my house so mine make noises with the earlest sign of failure. Here is how they crack


There are beefier mounts available now as replacement. I've read XC90's beefier spring seat is a perfect fit. also has a beefier mount as well.

When my Volvo independent shop replaced one, they were able to maintain the alignment during reassembly. See here.

End Links

If you have clicking sounds going over bumps, it is likely your sway bar end links went bad. Mine lasted about 80-100k miles each.

If you let it go too long, you might get clicking sound all over the front end over bumps. I guess the sway bar probably transmits the noises all over.

All of the aftermarket end links I purchased comes with a nut that is difficult to bolt onto the strut. I just reuse the old nut which is easier to put on.

When you try to break the nut loose, just use a big breaker bar with a socket to avoid stripping the nut with an open end wrench. Once its loose, you can use open end wrenches to take it off while holding the center from turning with a hex allen key (my original was a torx pattern while the new end link was hex) When tightening, just do the reverse. When it gets close to full tightness, use a 1/2 ratchet or breaker bar to put some good torque on it.

I read about someone sourcing a Chrysler endlink that matches the length but are beefier and has better ball joints. Sounds like a cheap source for both improved handling and longevity :)!&p=183742#post183742

Lower Control Arm Bushing

Most of these Europaen car's front suspension bushings starts to go near 100k miles. The lower control arm (LCA) bushings are no exception on this car.

Both rear bushings rubber on the front control arm is torn at 75k miles on the XC70. When I jack the car up, I can see the metal under the rubber on the rear bushing.

Note that pressing the bushing in and out is definitely not easy on this LCA. The LCA's shape near the front bushing provides little leverage in some spots for firm hold on a press. Consequently, part suppliers are offering complete arms with new bushing already pressed in for not much more than replacing bushing + any shop's rates for pressing the bushing.

If you do decide to just replace the whole arm with new bushings (most people do this), make sure you order the correct version of the control arm. I believe XC70 (proper name is XC70 for 03-07 and V70XC for 01-02) has a larger (actually more extended length from the subframe) than the lower ride height V70/S60 2WD/AWD. Make sure you order the correct part. The wrong part will not fit as the size is different.

Directions are here

Having done this on both of my wagons, here are some tips on control arm removal and installation. There is a easy way to remove this without jacking up the engine at all. In fact, I recently replaced both LCAs in 1 hour time using air impact tools and a helper for couple of spots.

9 Bolts total for removal

There are only bolts to remove for this job on each control arm.

  • 2 bolts for strut+steering knuckle
  • 1 bolt for power ball joint
  • 1 bolt for outer tie rod + steering knuckle
  • 1 axle bolt
  • 3 bolts on the control arm (2 front, 1 rear)
The key for this job is to pull the entire steering knuckle, hub, rotor, brake caliper assembly off the control arm and moving it aside. This gives ample room to remove and install the control arm.

Remove steering knuckle+wheel hub+rotor+brake caliper assembly off the control arm

  • Disconnect the outer tie rod. Air impact tools work great. Or use a open end/box wrench to remove while holding the center bolt with a crescent wrench.
  • Remove the top bolt on the end link. Air tool work great. Or use an open end and a torx (or hex for aftermarket end links) to hold the center bolt still during removal. You need a pry bar to push the sway bar downwards (use subframe as leverage) to slide the sway bar ball joint bolt out of the strut.
  • Take the axle bolt out (to have more movement freedom and not pull on the axle)
  • Take the bolt off the ball joint
  • Take the ABS cable off the holder on the strut.
  • Take off the 2 bolts that hold the hub assembly to the strut. See here.
  • Lift up the steering knuckle wheel hub+rotor+break caliper assembly off of the control arm (clearing the balljoint) and cradle it in your lap (its heavy). Its dirty with lots of brake dust so wear coveralls or dirty clothing. Have the helper slide the drive axle out in this process, just push where end of the axle until is clears the hub. There is a rubber sleeve between the axle and Hub, make sure you look at which side of the seal faces the hub and axle to reassemble it correctly. Also be careful to not tug on the ABS line hard during this process.
  • have a helper rotate the strut towards the rear of the car (helper is great here since you will be holding that heavy assembly with both hands). On driver side this is counter clock wise, on passenger side, this is clockwise
  • Put the assembly back on the strut. Use one of the strut bolts you took off to secure it to the strut (I put it on the top hole).
  • Use a bungie cord or rope to lift and tie the drive shaft so its weight doesn't lay on the control arm.
  • Now the  control arm and it should be nice and parallel for removal.
  • On the passenger side, 2 PS fluid lines run over the front bolts on the control arm. See below for directions on removal.
Here is a video of a guy doing this on a rack. While he had all the right tools, he does basically the same disassembly as the steps above. Note that you will need a new stretch bolt for reassembly There is a sleeve between the hub and the axle that you have to put back correctly (have the correct side facing the axle and hub)

Taking the rear bushing's bolt out

Take this bolt out first, having the rear bolt out allows more movement of the control arm to take out the front ones in the next step. 

  • I didn't have a socket deep enough to break loose the top nut. I use a socket + 1/2 inch breaker bar to break the bottom bolt head loose. Once its loose, the top nut comes off easily with open end, box, or crescent wrench.

Taking the front bushing's bolt out 

  • Use a 3/8 17mm socket + 3/8 inch breaker bar. This setup can easily squeeze between the subframe and transmission on the driver side. You need a bit of muscle to break it loose. As you turn to take it off, you can keep on pulling the control arm outwards so the bolt+breaker bar don't run into the transmission on the driver side and oil pan on the passenger side. Here is a pic of this tool
Here is the passenger side front bushing bolts. Just pop the power steering line from its plastic snap holder and get it out of the way. Use that 3/8 inch breaker bar to work loose the bolt.


Putting the hub assembly back on after control arm with new bushing is installed

  • I basically drop the whole hub assembly while insert the ball joint into the control arm. Gravity will help you as the heavy hub assembly pushes the control arm downwards.
  • Push the whole assembly downwards, reconnect the axle into the hub and reconnect the steering knuckle to the strut.
  • Be very careful not to tug on the ABS lines.
  • Use pry bar to push down the sway bar and insert endlink back onto the strut. ABS line goes on the outside of the endlink, not inside.
  • Read the alignment section for more info on camber angles
Here is a diagram for your reference.

In case moves this file around. Get on their site, search for 2001-7 XC/V70 with any engine and find the front suspension section for this diagram.

Note it is possible to put the driver side control arm on the passenger side and vice versa. When this happens, you won't be able to get the hub back in. See this following link for reference. 

Pressing the bushing out/in

I had a really difficult time asking others to press out/in the bushings. My saga included a stop at Les Schwabs (they couldn't do it), a local machine shop (they couldn't do the front bushing) and finally a local Volvo and European independent shop for both of my Volvo's lower control arm bushing.

As luck would have it, both places pressed the front bushing incorrectly and 180 degrees rotated. This will change your camber angle so it must be corrected. This is because the mounting plate on the front bushing is off centered. Both shops pressed the front bushing back out and back in correctly.

I guess this must be a very easy mistake to make. So I suggest the following

Clean the control arm (wash the dirt off with soap and water, it is aluminum so no harm done)

Use a permanent marker to mark a line on the control arm to show how the bushing metal plate should be aligned. Study the bushing carefully, you can see the metal plate is off centered by design and won't line up in the same place if installed incorrectly. Here is a picture


 Just tell the installer to line it up to the permanent marker lines. If they rotate it 180 degrees, it won't line up.

Here is a temperature method by a volvo forum member. I tried this and it didn't work for me. Its a pain to cut the bushings out and I couldn't really tap in the bushing. Perhaps I didn't freeze it long enough (4-5 hours)  

Here is a self fashioned press tool if you have a press

In general, it is probably easier just to buy a new control arm with bushings already pressed in.

Replacing Struts

For the FWD V70/S60 cars, there are several brands of struts to choose from. I believe Sensen now makes struts for the none XCs and are probably the lowest priced. I've used them before on VW MK4s and Rav4s with good results after installation (Unfortunately don't have long term results). Sachs is the OEM, and Koni and Bilstein are the upgraded ones. KYB also makes struts for V70/S60s. For XCs, Sachs is the only maker and is the Volvo's OEM supplier I believe.

The spring seats on top of the strut assembly fail quite often. It is likely yours might have cracks after you disassemble it. So this is a good opportunity to change them. See Spring Seat from above.

Replacement directions is exactly same as the 850 and can be found here.

I had no trouble taking off the sway bar links unlike the author of this direction. But then I don't have salted roads where I live. I took a 18mm socket and cranked this nut to break it loose from the strut housing itself. It was easier to use an open ended wrench to remove the nut along with a Torx socket+3/8 drive to hold the center.

When you put the new strut back in. You might need to push the control arm down a little to get to bolt holes between the strut and the steering knuckle to line up. Bolt the strut to the spindle in the exact geometry, see here.

To put the endlinks in, you will need a long bar to push down the anti-sway bar.

There is a ABS cable holder on the old strut that will need to be transferred to the new strut. My V70 had a metal holder held on by screws. This was fairly easy. My XC70 had a plastic holder held on by plastic pins that expands a plastic coupler into the 2 holes on the strut. You will need a tool to push the pin backout from the center then gently pry loose the plastic holder. If you try to pry it loose without pushing the pin out, the plastic coupler will break. Here is what this holder look like


Note: On all the parts websites I have reviewed, XC70 and the none XC V70s have different struts. KYB and Monroe makes aftermarket struts for the none XCs. Looks like OEM (made by Sachs/Boge) is the only strut available for the XC. From the looks of the pictures, XC struts are taller than the none XCs.


The nut with the cross pattern that holds down the spring seat seems to loosen after the full weight of the car is on the struts (can take a couple of days). Probably the initial reassembly of the spring seat didn't go down all the way. An easy fix is

  • Leave the car on the ground so the full weight is on the struts/spring aseembly
  • Remove the top nut at the top of the strut assembly (from the engine compartment). Just use a Torx socket to hold the center still while wrenching off the nut. Don't worry, the weight of the car is holding the spring down safely
  • Remove the washer held down by the top nut and tighten the cross pattern nut with a pipe wrench while counter hold the center shaft. Volvo calls for 70nm torque. Difficult to use a torque wrench given the cross shape. People have suggested to practice on another nut to get a feel. But just make sure it is snug and tighten while counter holding the center shaft.
  • Reassemble the washer and the top nut. Again, use a torx socket to hold the center still while wrenching the nut tight. Becareful not to crank tight the very top nut without holding the center shaft still. Doing so basically twists the metal molded in the center of the spring seat. I would guess this can destroy the spring seats.

Here is a more complete description


Rear Shocks FWD

This is direction for my 2001 V70 T5 FWD car. My 2001 V70XC is different and I'll post more directions and links when I do the XC soon.

Remove the cargo cover, any cargo carpeting or tray. Flip up and pull out the second cover from the bumper in your cargo. Get the liner out.

Remove the 2 foam pads covering the top shock mount surface. Carefully to not rip them as you will need to put it back. They are held on by tacky glue at a 3 spots beside the sticky surface.

There are 3 bolts that hold the top shock mount against the frame and one center nut that holds the shock against that. Remove the center nut (a new one should have come with your new shocks, see for reference) I used a 1/2" drive (or a breaker bar) to just break loose the nut. Then I use a open end wrench with a torx bit to counter hold while taking the nut out. Now the top of the shock is disconnected but still compressed against the mounting surface.

Jack the rear of the car and take off the rear tires. You need to jack it up fairly high. The shocks has to slide out of the bottom. I had my 21 inch height jack fully extended. Don't forget to put the car on jack stands and tires under the edge of the car (I add few wide pieces of wood for additional height) for safety.

There is only one bolt holding the bottom of the shocks on. Bolt head is accessible facing the front of the car. This bolt is standard not metric. Once the bolt is taken out. Use a small crow bar or something to pop the shock's bottom mount from the mounting bracket. The shocks should slide out after.

Slide new shocks in from the bottom. Get someone to help you to look from the top so the threaded bolt on the top of the shock properly goes through the hole on the shock mount at the top.

Slide the bottom mount bolt back in and tighten it. This is where I had some difficulty with one of my shocks as it angled a bit and I couldn't get the holes for the bottom mount to line up on one side. I elected to take off the 3 top bolts that held the top shock mount in so the shock can angle a bit and get the bottom bolt on first.

If you took off the 3 bolts to the top shock mount, you have to reposition it properly before putting load on it (and the get the 3 bolts back on). It might even have fell down if you don't have the shock in there. If so, just put it on the top of the shock and push it back up. Mine had a rubber lip that has to be positioned on top of the metal hole. Use something (I used a small flat head screw driver to pull up by the metal lip on the mount) to lift up that side and get that lip over first. Then position in mount in the place so the 3 holes line up and put the screws in (put the nut on the top shock threaded bolt. This gives you something to hold on to while pulling and pushing things around to get it to line up). The screws are relatively short and may not reach if the top mount can't be pull up flush. You will probably need to position your jack against the bottom shock mount area (use something to pad the contact surface if you have shape edges) and raise it a little at a time. This will use your shock to push the upper mount up and try to get 3 bolts back on.

Once both shocks are on and the shock's upper threaded bolt is over the center hole, put the tires on and drop the car on to the ground. This will compress the shocks against the upper mount and push the top shock's center threaded bolt all the way up. Put the center nut on and everything else back on. You are done! Take it for a drive. Mine feels like a brand new car after this + front suspension + new tires :)

Rear Shocks AWD

Here are the notes I've left for replacing the rear shocks on my 01 V70XC 

Here are the VADIS directions

Front suspension alignment and geometry

Here are some info on how to "preserve your alignment" while changing parts on the front suspension

1. When disconnect the outer tie rod from the steering knuckle, you won't need an alignment as long as you don't turn the inner and outer tie rods and change the length. Toe-in angles will be exactly the same when you put it back

2.  The only camber angle adjustment on this car is the play between the strut and the wheel spindle. There are 2 strut bolts that holds these 2 parts together and sets the camber angle. There isn't really much play to allow much angle change. If you want to preserve this angle, Volvo's directions shows using a caliper to take measurement and set the same measurement during reassembly. Will post link to Volvo directions on this (including pictures). Here is a link for more info

Front End clunks While Turning

I had this issue and it turns out the bolts that hold the strut to the steering knuckle loosened. Tightening it made the clunks go away.

Probably should either use lock-tite or new bolts whenever this bolt is loosened. 

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